By Kenyon Stronski
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Southern Alberta Newspapers
The government of Alberta is committed to growing Alberta’s vaccine capacity, and as such, they are providing up to $81.2 million to fund four proposals for vaccine development and manufacturing. This is planned to help in the fight against COVID, but to also future-proof for future infections disease outbreaks.
On Dec. 1, multiple members of Alberta’s government gathered to discuss these proposals and what they mean for the future of Alberta.
These four proposals accepted by the government are the University of Alberta, Entos Pharmaceuticals, Applied Pharmaceutical Innovation, and Northern RNA.
“The COVID-19 pandemic showed us how important it is to have the capacity to develop and manufacture vaccines at home. These investments will help build not just vaccines but also an industry that will protect and benefit Albertans for years to come. This sector provides a significant number of high-quality, high0paying jobs and supports other sectors in Alberta, including agriculture, manufacturing, petrochemicals and research,” said Dough Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation.
Of that $81 million, the government has committed up to $55.1 million to the University of Alberta to support four projects including, vaccine portfolio development, Alberta cell therapy manufacturing, a Biosafety Level 3 lab, and a structural biology facility.
This is said to not only address vaccines, but also the broader pharmaceutical and life sciences industry.
In addition, Applied Pharmaceutical Innovation is slated to receive $5.6 million to build an integrated research, commercialization, and manufacturing cluster to ensure the security of supply of critical medicines at commercial volumes.
Entos Pharmaceuticals will receive $15.5 million to establish a commercial manufacturing facility in Edmonton.
Also, $5 million will go to Northern RNA to help build the RNA ecosystem in Alberta.
“The province continues to work to safeguard the health of Albertans with this new initiative to develop vaccines right here in Alberta. We have seen first-hand how vaccines can be game-changers when to comes to public health and protection, and I have no doubt this is a valuable area to invest in for the future of Albertans’ health,” said Minister of Health Jason Copping.